County worker in Cloquet charged with swindling trash fees
- September 28, 2013 - 4:26 PM
Something didn’t smell right at the Carlton County Transfer Station, where residents pay to drop off their trash and solid waste.
After checking video surveillance footage and running sting operations with marked bills, authorities charged the county worker who collected fees at the gate with concocting “an elaborate scheme” to steal hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
Joanne M. Wappes, 62, has been charged with two felonies: theft by swindle and stealing public funds.
Authorities say Wappes, of Cloquet, handed out phony receipts and altered cash register tape to make transactions look legitimate. “She was depositing great sums of money into various accounts that greatly exceeded the wages she earned from Carlton County,” the complaint alleged. One account had $925,000, and the total tally of stolen money might top $1 million. Wappes earned $17,500 from the county by mid-July but had deposited more than $30,000.
© 2013 Star Tribune